Slam is in the process of releasing their top 50 list. Today, Andre Iguodala's name came up at number 26. The ranking is bad, as is the article that accompanies it, but take a look anyway. I'll quickly explain why after the jump.
At some point, aren't we going to be able to move beyond the points-per-game argument? Seriously, I mean, if he was averaging like 12 ppg maybe I'd buy that "he doesn't score enough to be called a superstar," but 18.8 on 14 shots and 47% from the field is damned efficient for a wing player. Scoring is not an issue.
Khalid Salaam, the writer of the Slam article, puts his foot in his mouth almost immediately. At the end of the second paragraph he calls Iguodala "better-than-average (though not elite) defense." I rarely swear in posts here, but that's complete bullshit. Iguodala is absolutely an elite defender. I took a close look at his defensive work at the beginning of April, using easy-to-digest metrics to depict exactly what Iguodala has done to the best wings in the league. The long and short of the argument is this: When a team with a "legitimate" superstar plays the Sixers, Iguodala shuts that superstar down, and more often than not, outscores him. If you don't believe me, there are plenty of advanced metrics you can check, start here, then go here.
If you'd like some film, go back to the first round of the playoffs this year. Hedo Turkoglu, the supposed savior of the Raptors, did absolutely jack while Iguodala was guarding him. Stan Van Gundy spent most of his coaching time trying to figure out how to get Hedo away from Iguodala.
Part of me hopes the Princeton offense provides Iguodala with more open looks so he can pump up his FGA and PPG, just so he'll finally get the national recognition he deserves. Then the rational side of my brain takes over and realizes we have a wing who plays within himself on offense, scores efficiently, involves his teammates with excellent passing, rebounds the ball at a high rate, shuts down the opposing team's best wing, takes all the big shots (and hits them at an excellent rate) and plays every single night.
How many players in this league can you say all of that about? I guarantee you the answer isn't 25.